Extreme weather: Russia sees temperature plummet

Temperatures in parts of Siberia plummeted to minus 56 degrees Celsius on Monday 4 December while blizzards blanketed Moscow in record snowfall, disrupting flights.

In the Sakha Republic, located in the north-eastern part of Siberia and home to Yakutsk, one of the world’s coldest cities, temperatures fell below minus 50 C, according to the region’s weather stations.

In Oymyakon, an area in Sakha, the temperature was recorded at minus 56 degrees Celsius on Monday evening.

Temperatures of minus 50 C have become less common in recent years because of climate change. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that climate change is now bringing temperature volatility. In the Russian capital, some of the biggest snowfalls ever seen on 3 December left swathes of Moscow blanketed in drifts of more than 35 cm of snow in just one day.

Russian forecasters said it would feel like more than minus 60 degrees Celsius in Oymyakon given the wind and humidity and that temperatures would fall further overnight.

“In the European part of Russia, in the Urals and Siberian territories, the frost is expected to increase in the first week of December,” Russia’s national meteorological service said.

Almost all of Sakha is located in the permafrost zone. In the region’s capital, Yakutsk, which lies some 5,000 km (3,100 miles) east of Moscow, the temperature was around minus 44 C to minus 47 C.

Temperatures in Moscow and the region around the capital were forecast to fall to about minus 20 C later this week. In the Urals, temperatures are forecast to fall to minus 40 C this week.